Buried in a column by Forum News Service reporter Don Davis, we find this nugget of cooperative education in East Asian political economy:
Of cigars and communists
A Minnesota Senate committee approved spending $100,000 for the state to develop trading ties with Cuba.
“This is all about cigars,” committee Chairman David Tomassoni, D-Chisholm, joked.
Later, Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria, wondered: “What other communist countries do we do business like this with?”
“China,” Tomassoni responded. “How about China? I think that is a communist country.”
We're glad they figured that one out.
UPDATE: Via The Uptake, which loaded the entire hearing on Youtube, we've coded the sequence in the embedded video below. Note that Ingebrigtsen asks the question about other communist countries to the bill's author, Dan Sparks (DFL-Austin), who doesn't know, but gets an assist from Tomassoni:
Minnesota's Department of Employment and Economic Department (DEED) launched the Minnesota China Partnership in 2005, when then-Governor Tim Pawlenty led a trade mission to the country. Governor Dayton led another trade mission in 2012.
It's anticipated that Cuba will provide a market for the export of Minnesota farm products in particular.
Photo: Chairman Mao smoking.
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